Our Voices

Advocates Post Bond for 20 People in Baton Rouge Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Among the things that have happened since Landon Davis got arrested and charged with simple robbery last summer: His fiance gave birth to their baby daughter—and a global pandemic arrived in Louisiana, upending normal life for state residents as the death toll continues to rise.

Davis couldn’t afford his $5,000 bond, so he spent the past several months sitting in jail while his case trickled slowly through the local court system.

But on Friday afternoon, he joined 19 other defendants who regained their freedom after advocates from the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organized a bailout. It was part of a larger nationwide push to reduce the number of people incarcerated before the coronavirus arrives inside American jails and prisons, where close quarters and underlying medical conditions threaten to exacerbate the impacts.

“The novel coronavirus requires a novel response. We can’t maintain the status quo and expect this pandemic to work itself out,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Every day we keep someone needlessly incarcerated during this crisis is a matter of life and death and we can’t delay action any longer.”

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